Domestic Violence Lawyer Serving Bergen County and Northern New Jersey
The New Jersey family law attorneys at Herbert & Weiss include lawyers experienced in representing women in shelters and in issuing temporary restraining orders from the judge’s bench. If you have been a victim of domestic violence or accused of domestic violence, or if domestic violence is an issue in your pending divorce, trust an experienced domestic violence lawyer at Herbert & Weiss in Englewood to provide strong, effective representation that protects your rights and your safety.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in New Jersey
According to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, domestic violence in New Jersey includes assault, sexual assault, harassment, stalking and a host of other offenses, when they are committed against a current or former spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, household member, or a person pregnant by or who has a child in common with the alleged abuser.
A person who believes he or she is being subjected to domestic violence can obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO) prohibiting the alleged abuser from having any contact with the alleged victim. A TRO can be obtained by swearing out a complaint without the abuser’s knowledge and can even be issued over the phone. This process is important for the safety of the victim but can be hard on a person subject to the order who denies that any abuse ever took place.
A restraining order can do more than restrict a person from having any contact with his or her spouse or children. A TRO can order a person to move out of the house, give up any firearms, and even relinquish possession of and have no contact with the family pet! The authority of the judge in fashioning a TRO is broad and can include just about any type of order the judge deems appropriate.
Domestic Violence and Divorce
It is not uncommon for issues of domestic violence to be present in a divorce proceeding. Domestic violence may be the precursor to a divorce; there may be an underlying current of hostility for a long period during the marriage, and when it finally erupts into violence, that becomes the last straw which spurs the abused spouse to file for divorce and end the marriage. At other times, domestic violence may appear for the first time after a divorce is underway, when tensions are high and strong emotions are brought to the surface.
In either case, allegations or proof of domestic violence can have a serious impact on issues in the divorce. In most cases, a parent who has committed domestic violence against a spouse or child may not be awarded custody of the children and may only be allowed limited, supervised visitation. The determination of custody directly impacts the determination of child support and even the property settlement, as the family home is often awarded to the parent with primary custody to enhance stability in the child’s life. Domestic violence may also be considered by the court as a factor in determining alimony.
In addition to no-contact orders, a TRO can make orders for child custody, financial support and temporary possession of the home or car. These orders can be continued and made permanent by the family law judge when granting the final divorce decree.
Experienced and Dedicated Family Law Attorneys for New Jersey Domestic Violence Matters
While a TRO can be issued without the alleged abuser being present or having any say in the matter, the order will expire after a matter of days unless a judge decides to extend it for a longer period or indefinitely. Before this can happen, the judge must hold a hearing at which the accused has a right to be present, to be represented by counsel, and to challenge the order and present evidence in his or her defense. At Herbert & Weiss, we are well-versed in the legal process surrounding restraining orders and represent victims as well as those accused of domestic violence. If you are faced with an issue of domestic violence in New Jersey, contact Herbert & Weiss in Englewood to speak with a dedicated and effective domestic violence lawyer.